Postgraduate study
Study the theory, practical aspects and existing and emerging technologies that underpin molecular genetics and the diagnosis and understanding of disease.
MSc Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2.2 hons degree or international equivalent
Other requirements
Applicants should hold a minimum of a 2ii honours degree in life sciences, biomedical sciences or allied subjects, awarded from an approved University
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,785 - Terms apply
International fees
£22,815 - Terms apply
Queen's Medical Centre and University Park Campus

School of Life Sciences




This course is suitable for graduates in life sciences, biomedical sciences and allied subjects, as well as those already employed in science, laboratory or medical fields. We welcome UK, EU and international applicants. 

Our courseis unique. You’ll explore the molecular genetic basis to disease from both a human and infectious disease perspective.

Key topics that you’ll cover include:

  • the molecular basis to human genetic diseases
  • the molecular basis to infectious diseases
  • molecular diagnostic technologies in healthcare
  • bioinformatics and statistics
  • research skills

Research in the school

Postgraduate students directly contribute to the impact of our research and are important to the work we do. You will work with an active research group throughout your project - getting involved in research at the forefront of the University's research strategy.

The school is responsible for the main biological and biomedical research in the University. Research areas linked to this course include human genetics, molecular, cellular and clinical microbiology, immunology and bioinformatics.

Examples of past research project titles
  • Feo systems in Clostridium difficile
  • Transposon mutants in Clostridium sporogenes
  • PRS in in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Antibacterial combination biomaterials
  • Annotation of APOE NGS Data
  • Cigarette smoke and T cells
  • Alterations in senescence and oxidative stress in post-term placentae
  • PqsR inhibitors
  • Imputation to improve Polygenic Risk Score
  • Changes in the bacterial biofilm due to sub inhibitory antimicrobials
  • Codon usage in human virus infections
  • Isolation of human, bovine or sheep monoclonal antibodies to virus pathogens
  • DNA methylation and cognitive epialleles
  • RNA regulation of fragile X protein and genetic variation in populations with intellectual disability
  • Gene expression, DNA methylation and cognitive epialleles
  • Characterisation of gonococcal lipoproteins
  • Gonococcal toxin-antitoxin systems
  • NGS sequencing analysis of DNA and RNA methylation genes
  • Antibiotic resistance and biomaterials
  • Clostridium botulinum transposon mutagenesis
  • GWAS SNP Genotyping in the BDR
  • BDNF gene expression in AD and control samples
  • Lymphatic invasion and angiotropism in primary cutaneous melanoma
  • Testing of the gateway mini-gene
  • Quorum sensing and type three secretion in Yersinia spp.
  • Chitin recognition by the human innate immune system
  • Nanoluc transfection optimisation

International applicants

With staff and students from all over the world including Australia, America (North and South), Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Poland and Pakistan, you’ll be joining a truly global course.

The University has dedicated teams to support international applicants through the application and registration processes. There is a welcome programme to help you settle in to life in the UK and meet other students. The Students’ Union is also a source of support.

Key facts

  • 95% of the School of Life Sciences research was deemed to be of international quality according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.
  • The School of Life Sciences was ranked 9th for Research Power in our unit of assessment (REF 2014).
  • The school has been awarded Athena SWAN Silver status. Athena SWAN champions good working practices to advance the representation of women in STEMM subjects.
  • We've been recognised as delivering a Gold standard in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which aims to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching.
  • Nottingham features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings.



Full course details

Course structure

You will study 120 credits of taught modules and undertake a 60 credit research project. Further information on the modules this course covers is available under the modules tab.

For the research project, you’ll have a choice from topics provided by academics across diverse research areas. Working alongside active researchers in laboratories, you’ll carry out contemporary research by  performing wet or dry-lab experiments, such as bioinformatic analysis, or other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem. 

The research project includes an oral examination and dissertation. See the course overview for examples of past research project titles.

What you'll study

On this course, you will:

  • experience advanced study in the theoretical and practical aspects of the genetic basis and diagnosis of disease from both human and pathogen perspectives
  • be involved with an active research laboratory where you will develop the skills essential for a career in research
  • train to carry out critical evaluation of published scientific papers and develop the ability to report and interpret results
  • study the latest diagnostic technologies in healthcare 

How you'll be taught and assessed

Alongside University academic staff, colleagues working in molecular diagnostics and clinical genetics in the NHS may contribute to the teaching on the course.

Course material is delivered in various ways including lectures, practical sessions and tutorials. We also provide additional learning material and self-assessment exercises online. The online MSc database provides a central point for you to access your timetable, assessment results and easy access to additional module resources provided by staff.

Assessment varies depending on the topic being studied but you can expect:

  • examinations delivered electronically (multiple choice, multiple response and extended matching questions)
  • written examinations
  • oral presentations and viva voce examinations
  • essays
  • poster preparation
  • dissertation

Skills and facilities

Through the taught modules and the research project, you’ll gain practical skills in various areas. The school has excellent research facilities to support your practical training in: 

  • qPCR
  • imaging
  • FACS
  • biochemistry
  • genomics
  • tissue culture
  • microbiology
  • molecular genetics techniques
  • biofilm interface with biotic and abiotic surfaces

In addition to subject-specific skills, you’ll also gain the following transferable skills:

  • time management
  • critical analysis
  • research ethics
  • study design
  • oral presentations

Student support

All students will have a personal tutor for academic and pastoral support. In addition, you’ll have two supervisors for the research project – a primary academic supervisor and a bench supervisor.

The University offers wider student support relating to money matters, health and welfare, and careers.




Successful completion of the course will necessitate accumulation of 180 credits, 120 of which will derive from the taught modules and 60 from the research project.

Common Research Methods: Transferable Research Skills
You will gain an understanding of how to plan, prepare and execute research in the field of molecular biology, microbiology immunology and genetics. As well as learning how to manage the various stages of research projects, you will gain experience presenting research data and preparing publications. This module will also enhance your ability to critically assess published literature and analyse data.
Common Research Methods: Molecular Techniques
During these practical laboratory sessions, you will gain experience of standard techniques related to laboratory research in the fields of immunology, microbiology and molecular genetics. From this, you will appreciate the workflow of gene cloning, followed by sequence analysis of genes and their variability, as well as cloning and expression of recombinant proteins.
This module will familiarise you with statistical techniques used in analysing biological data and provide practical experience in using statistical software (SPSS). You will learn how to interpret, describe and present data using the appropriate statistical terms and graphical forms.
Microbial Genetics and Genomics
Several genetic regulatory systems are examined in this module to illustrate how key virulence factors are regulated in bacterial and viral pathogens. These examples are also used to demonstrate how tools used for genomic analysis can be used to diagnose and monitor infectious diseases.
Gene Regulation in Mammalian Cells
Topics covered in this module include chromatin remodelling, methods for regulating abundance of mRNA, DNA/protein and protein/protein interactions, research methods and gene associations with disease. You will learn how to describe the mechanisms that control eukaryotic genes and apply current research methods to address gene regulatory issues. The role that gene regulation plays in disease is also explored.
This introductory module will enable you to obtain practical experience in using bioinformatics software available for the analysis of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data.

The module is taught using a combination of lectures and practical sessions. You are required to produce a poster for assessment which includes information gathered from online databases about a particular gene or disease.

Molecular Services in Health Care
On this module, you will gain knowledge and understanding of the application of molecular diagnostic techniques in the health service including: genetic counselling, molecular clinical genetics, cytogenetics, population screening and cellular pathology.

You will also explore the factors to be considered for setting up a molecular diagnostic laboratory as well as appreciating the ethical considerations to genetic counselling and genetic screening.

Molecular Technologies in Complex Diseases
An extensive overview of molecular techniques used in the research of human diseases is provided on this module. The possible implications of these methods is also be explored. You will discuss the strengths and limitations of linkage analysis and genetic association studies in the study of complex disorders as well as enhancing your ability to critically evaluate relevant literature.
Molecular Basis of Genetic Disorders
This module covers the molecular basis of human diseases with a genetic component, focusing on those with a Mendelian pattern of inheritance. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, you will study the clinical features of selected diseases and their genetic basis as well as how to interpret genetic tests in inherited disorders and the concepts underlying the identification of predisposing genes in human disorders.
Research Project

On this 60 credit module you will design and execute a research programme – performing experiments, surveys, analysing data and undertaking other research activities aimed at solving a specific biomedical problem in the subject area you are studying. You will discuss the research project with your academic supervisor before the project begins.

As well as gaining the technical and project management skills required for contemporary research, you will develop the ability to write scientific texts through producing a dissertation based on your research findings. This report is discussed with academic staff during an oral examination.

The topic and form of project may vary from laboratory-based work, bioinformatics or extended literature reviews, depending on the expertise of our academic staff and which course you are enrolled on.



The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

School of Life Sciences scholarship 

The School of Life Sciences is offering 12 scholarships amounting to £1,000 each for international students joining our MSc courses in 2019/20. To apply for these scholarships you need a copy of an acceptance letter confirming that you have a place to study. This is a competitive scheme and students will be awarded a scholarship on academic and individual merit.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon (GMT) Friday 24 May 2019. Successful applicants will be notified via email by Friday 14 June 2019.

Full details and application forms for these scholarships can be obtained by contacting:
Anita Purshottam


UK/EU students

For funding advice, please see our guide to funding

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Careers and professional development

Upon graduation, our students are internationally competitive and go on to establish a range of successful careers. These include studying for a PhD in internationally-recognised research laboratories worldwide, or alternatively working in industry or the healthcare sector. Previous graduates have also obtained positions as trainee diagnostic geneticists. 

Students from our full suite of MSc courses have gone on to a variety of positions - here are a few examples: 

  • PhD –  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Infection Control Nurses
  • NHS Clinical Scientists
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist –  AMGEM Biotech
  • PhD –  School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • Clinical Trial Data Managers
  • Application Specialist Biological Sciences –  Japan
  • Biomedical Scientists (BMS1)
  • Research Technician – University of Nottingham
  • Research Scientist – GlaxoSmithKline     

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 94.9% of postgraduates from the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,400 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.


Career prospects and employability

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.


Related courses and downloads

Downloads and links


Related courses

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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